Bobbi Salvör Menuez and Jacqueline Castel in My Animal

ComingSoon Editor-in-Chief Tyler Treese talks My Animal director Jacqueline Castel and star Bobbi Salvör Menuez about the supernatural queer romance drama at the Sundance premiere and filming in Timmins, Canada. My Animal premieres this Sunday at Sundance Film Festival with a midnight performance.

“Heather, an outcast teenage goalie, dreams of playing on the hockey team in her small northern town. She meets and falls in love with newcomer Jonny, a charming but tormented figure skater,” the synopsis says. “The girls’ relationship flourishes despite Heather’s struggles with her alcoholic mother, her hidden sexual orientation, and a family curse that turns her into a wild wolf under the full moon. The Heather and Jonny’s secret trial soon pits them against the conformity of their small community, uncovering dangerous truths and igniting a passionate, violent night of personal transformation.

Coming up to Sundance, how excited are you for the premiere? It must be very exciting to be a part of such an amazing festival.

Jacqueline Castel: Yeah, I mean, I don’t know if it all hit me yet, because I finished the movie until last Wednesday, so it looks like we got our DCT and the [quality control] finished on Wednesday, and then I flew home to New York from Toronto. Then I just said, getting ready to go. I don’t think so, I don’t know if it will like totally hit me until I have it happen. Everything feels a little surreal at this point because everything is happening so fast. So yeah, I’m very excited. But I don’t think I really hit it until I was at the premiere and I was like, “Oh, here I am. This really happened. It’s not like a dream.”

Bobbi Salvar Menuez: It feels so good to be here. I’ve been to this festival before, but never as a project leader. I think it’s also the first year that it’s fully back in person since 2020, there’s a real energy going around Main Street and everything. There is a great energy and there are so many films that I am excited to see and I feel excited to be with our film. And yes, I am very excited for the premiere Sunday. I actually decided to wait to see the film until the premiere, so it will be like a bit of an emotional rollercoaster Sunday at midnight. The only downside is that we don’t have Amandla here, but we feel you here in spirit.

Jacqueline, I love small towns. Can you talk about why you went in that direction? I think it gives the film a very different feel.

Castle: I think that’s inherent in the script itself. But I also grew up in a lot of weird places. I’m American, I’m also Canadian, I’m also French, I have a family that … we’ve moved pretty much all over the place. I grew up in small towns like Topeka, Kansas, and Reno, Nevada. There’s something I just know about that kind of town and what it feels like to be raised in a town like that and how hard it is when you feel like you don’t fit in that world. Then how you are defined as an individual and how it shapes you.

So I see the location itself as a character and I’m really specific with my location scouts to find a world that really feels true to what I’m trying to capture in this kind of lost in time location. I don’t know, I think that’s an interesting place to jump from in terms of shaping the world that your character lives in.

Bobbi, how was it filmed in Timmins, Ontario?

Menuez: You don’t have to fake that feeling like, “it’s a pretty small world and there’s no escape.” As before, it really felt, and the intensity of winter. It was one of the worst winters on record in decades or decades. I think it’s also really special that it’s a city that doesn’t really film things. It really helps make things real, which is always a joy for a performer to charge locations and connect with townspeople or local crews. It just adds to the authenticity of the experience, which is always a benefit of shows, I think.

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